AOC: Facebook “Sabotaged” Worldwide COVID-19 Response by Spreading Misinformation

 AOC: Facebook “Sabotaged” Worldwide COVID-19 Response by Spreading Misinformation

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In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance, progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said that Facebook (FB) and other American corporations have “sabotaged” the worldwide response to COVID-19 by disseminating misinformation about the virus.

The tech behemoth, which just renamed itself, Meta, should be “broken up” because of its overlapping lines of business as a platform, vendor, and advertiser, according to Ocasio-Cortez.

“There are some things that the United States provides that are welcome,” she says. 

“There are also things that we want the United States to stop exporting and one of those things is disinformation — disinformation through U.S.-founded companies like Facebook that have absolutely slowed and frankly sabotaged the global effort to fight against the coronavirus,” she adds. 

The comments from Ocasio-Cortez, who spoke to Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief, Andy Serwer, on Jan. 27, came nearly a month after Facebook suspended House Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for 24 hours for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. The suspension came a day after Greene was permanently banned from Twitter.

Throughout the pandemic, Facebook has been chastised for what some see as an insufficient attempt to prevent the spread of misleading information about the virus. A request for comment from the corporation was not immediately returned.

Last July, President Joe Biden sparked a public spat with Facebook when he claimed that social media sites are “killing people” by spreading vaccine misinformation.

In response, Facebook VP Guy Rosen refuted the charge, claiming in a blog post that vaccine acceptance among Facebook users had increased since January, and advocating for a “whole of society” approach to ending the pandemic instead.

Biden then moderated his criticism by targeting his ire at the top influencers who disseminate vaccination misinformation on social media, rather than the platforms themselves, in later statements on the matter.

The Washington Post reported in October that records later released by whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed that the business had accumulated extensive information on the spread of coronavirus misinformation on its platform, which it did not share publicly.

Facebook spokesperson Aaron Simpson provided this statement to the Post: “There’s no silver bullet to fighting misinformation, which is why we take a comprehensive approach which includes removing more than 20 million pieces of content that break our covid misinformation policies … connecting more than 2 billion people to reliable information about covid-19 and vaccines, and partnering with independent fact-checkers.”

According to a report released in March 2021 by advocacy group Center for Countering Digital Hate, only 12 persons are responsible for up to 73 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation on Facebook.

Joseph Mercola, a significant anti-vaccine influencer on Facebook with 1.7 million followers, routinely shares anti-vaccine comments and promotes his anti-vaccine book “The Truth About COVID-19” on his page.

Ocasio-Cortez rose to prominence after upsetting incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley, then the House’s No. 4 Democrat and a potential successor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a surprising upset in June 2018. She became the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress when she took office the following year at the age of 29.

She has approximately 13 million Twitter followers, giving her one of the largest online platforms of aU.S. elected official.

As per Finance. Yahoo, Ocasio-Cortez reiterated her longstanding call for antitrust action against Facebook. Last month, a judge rejected Facebook’s request to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission that claims the company is operating a monopoly in the social media sector.

“Facebook should be broken up,” Ocasio-Cortez says. “They’re an advertiser. They are acting as both platform and vendor. They are a communication platform, which has historically been a well-established domain of antitrust.”

“Because they are so many businesses and industries in one,” she adds. “The case [is] right there in and of itself as to why they should be subject to antitrust activity.”

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